“A scar is a sign that a wound has tried to heal.”
The subject of healing is one of the most important topics we could ever discuss. It’s hard to imagine any person not having at least one episode from the past which needs healing. However, there are countless more who need to heal from horrific abuses and the good news is that it’s never too late to begin.
In last week’s article (click here to read it), the emphasis was placed on forgiving oneself for assuming that any abuse was somehow deserved. By simply acknowledging we had any responsibility for these cruel acts is the number one source for self-inflicted punishment.
When I discuss healing techniques with my clients, it’s vital that they understand how the healing occurs. When we get a cut on our skin or a broken bone, the body’s complex systems begin the healing process. Dressings or a splint may be applied to assist it but our skin and bones regenerate themselves. Our emotional capacity on the other hand, never developed this complicated process. Even more regrettable is that viable and helpful healing techniques are so rarely discussed; including by many mental health professionals.
Why is forgiving yourself an important step? Because we often blame ourselves for the abuses we’ve suffered. Self-forgiveness helps you realize those negative and shameful thoughts we developed were not true and this acknowledgement brings a feeling of relief.
Another valuable approach to healing is joining a support group. People are encouraged to reach out to those with similar experiences and share their stories. Often our abuses leave us feeling overwhelmed with shame and we compound that by thinking that no one wants to hear our sad stories. Getting it off our chest, however, is a huge relief and a proverbial weight is lifted from our shoulders. Noticing that someone else has struggled with a similar plight takes away feelings of isolation and helps us feel more included and welcomed which is another step in emotional healing.
I believe one of the biggest challenges we face as human beings is that many veritable techniques for healing are ideals which our ethnic and religious backgrounds have shunned or taught us were wrong! There are innumerable stories of abuse by a family relative or friend that were kept silent for any number of senseless and shame-filled reasons. Typically, exonerating the abuser and leaving the victim feeling even more shameful; all but nullifying any chance for recovery.
We are also taught that thinking about ourselves is generally a selfish act which can make it extremely difficult for some to take that crucial step of self-forgiveness. Anytime forgiveness is mentioned it’s always directed toward someone else. Although it may be helpful eventually to forgive the abuser, forcing a victim in the early stages of the healing process to forgive an abuser can be devastating and actually produce harm.
Perhaps there are abuses in your past and you really want to heal but are afraid, embarrassed, or any number of reasons keeping you from that first step. I hope you’ll take this opportunity to reach out to me and see what techniques I can recommend. Everyone deserves an opportunity to emotionally repair and rebuild so life can be lived to its fullest potential.
Thanks to Dana Cohen of DLEIGHDESIGN, for the beautiful picture. I look forward to your comments.